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Tag: Hall of Fame Elections

Hall and Oats

Your new Hall of Famers:

Roberto Alomar — and (at long last, love) Bert Blyleven.

Barry Larkin’s totals were third-highest, with 62.1% of the vote (short of the 75% needed, but in good shape to get in a few years down the road); Jack Morris managed 53.5%, Lee Smith 45.3% (…seriously?), and Jeff Bagwell 41.7%, so get ready to have that fun discussion all over again next year. You can see the full results over at the BBWAA’s high-tech website of the future.

According to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS system and series of articles over at Baseball Prospectus, there were eight deserving candidates on the ballot this year: Roberto AlomarJeff BagwellBert BlylevenBarry LarkinEdgar MartinezMark McGwireTim Raines, and Alan Trammell. I wasn’t so sure about Raines and Trammell initially, but I’ve completely come around on Rock over the last year and I’m edging towards being convinced on Trammell. It’d help if the guy had a better nickname, which I believe is not a factor JAWS takes into consideration, but it really ought to be. That’s something I’ll have to bring up with Jay, and I won’t have to wait long because he’s chatting live over at BP this very moment.

For those of you who are sick of reading and debating about the Hall of Fame, exhale. For those who aren’t, have at it in the comments. What would your ballot look like?

Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Rusty Kuntz

"Mom, mom, take my picture next to the Rusty Kuntz statue!"

There are many reasons why I should never, ever be allowed to have a Hall of Fame vote.

For one thing, you know I would absolutely vote for players based on whether they had cool or funny names, based entirely on my own personal criteria. Welcome to the Hall, Wayne Terwilliger! I would work to establish a sort of Veteran’s Committee variant to ensure that historic greats like Cletus Elwood “Boots” Poffenburger and Bris “The Human Eyeball” Lord were not forgotten but instead enshrined in their deserved splendor.

I would also probably not be able to resist voting for Don Mattingly and indeed  pretty much any player who spent time on the Yankees roster between 1996 and 2001, not merely undeserving fan favorites like Paul O’Neill, Scott Brosius and Tino Martinez, but also, there’s a good chance, Graeme Lloyd, Chili Davis, Robin Ventura, maybe Brian Boehringer and quite possibly a bunch of players whose names I don’t even remember at this point. Do I really think Scott Brosius let alone Shane Spenser is a Hall of Famer? Of course not, but it’d be nice to do a little something for those guys, you know?

I guess there’s not really a way to throw anyone out of the Hall once they’re in, but I would try to change that and, in the meantime, regularly TP and egg the plaques of Tom Yawkey and Walter O’Malley, also occasionally drawing devil horns and lipstick and goatees on their bronzed faces. Actually, I guess there’s nothing stopping me from doing that now even without a Hall of Fame vote, except the fear of arrest. Little known fact: if you’re a Hall of Fame voter you legally cannot be arrested within Cooperstown city limits. It’s like diplomatic immunity. I’m pretty sure.

In addition, I would try to get the name officially changed to the Hall of Very Good just because it would piss people off so much.

Finally, please note that my complete failure to take the Hall seriously does not mean that I won’t sputter indignantly when the results are announced next week, because I absolutely will, especially if Jack Morris gets elected and Blylevyn does not, and also if I have to read about the Bagwell-steroid-suspicion mishegoss for another damn week. Indignant sputtering is one of life’s little pleasures and every baseball fan’s innate right, and I greatly look forward to it.

Breaking News: MLB Still A Sore Loser

Once again, Marvin Miller has been left out of the Hall of Fame – this time by a single vote.

Pat Gillick got voted in. Nothing against Pat Gillick, who as they say is “a good baseball man,” but he was not one tenth as influential on Major League Baseball as Miller was. And I believe George Steinbrenner should be put  in as well – he didn’t get the votes, this time – but I imagine that he’ll get there at some point in the future; whereas it seems likely, at this point, that Miller never will.

Almost none of my reaction to this is printable (so to speak) on a family blog. It’s just so infuriatingly stupid, or spiteful, or both. I’ll let Miller speak for himself, something he is, as always, more than capable of doing. USA Today quotes from the statement he released:

“The Baseball Hall of Fame’s vote (or non-vote) of December 5, hardly qualifies as a news story. It is repetitively negative, easy to forecast, and therefore boring.

“A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence. Its failure is exemplified by the fact that I and the union of players have received far more support, publicity, and appreciation from countless fans, former players, writers, scholars, experts in labor management relations, than if the Hall had not embarked on its futile and fraudulent attempt to rewrite history. It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out.”

Miller has made a point of never groveling or indeed campaigning at all for a place in the Hall of Fame, and he’s not changing course now. And he’s right here: the Hall is a repository of baseball history, but it’s not the only one. Anyone interested in the facts can do a little research and decide for themselves just how important a role Marvin Miller played, and his lack of inclusion in the Hall of Fame takes nothing away from his accomplishments. And for such an anti-establishment figure, maybe that really is more fitting.

Still, I would sure love to have a word with the  committee members who didn’t vote for him. That word wouldn’t be printable, either.

Observations From Cooperstown–The Election, Rumors, and Preston Gomez

There will be a clear-cut Yankee-Red Sox flair to the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies taking place on July 26 here in Cooperstown. Veterans Committee selection Joe Gordon played a large chunk of his career with the Yankees, Jim Rice spent all of his major league days with the Red Sox, and Rickey Henderson played for both the Sox and the Bombers. I have to confess that I’d forgotten about Rickey’s tenure with Boston, but he did play there for 72 games in 2002. Like Goose Gossage, Rickey put in cameos for just about everyone.

Unlike Rice, there’s really no argument over Henderson’s worthiness as a Hall of Famer, not when you’re the all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases, and second on the all-time walks list. The 28 writers who left Henderson’s name off the ballot really should step up and explain themselves. (Up till now, only one has, a man named Corky Simpson, who said Henderson wasn’t his kind of player.) If they left him off as a protest against Rickey’s occasional tendency to lollygag, I can somewhat understand their point; Henderson did his reputation no favors when he tanked his performance with both the Yankees (in 1989) and Mets (in 2000). If they left him off because they don’t vote for first-year eligibles, or because they don’t want to see a unanimous selection, they really need to lose those antiquated ideas. Those simply aren’t legitimate reasons to keep someone’s name off the ballot. It would be nice for the Baseball Writers to come up with a system that demands accountability. Perhaps the voting for the Hall should no longer be done with secret ballots; let’s make each writer publicly list his or her choices. Maybe that will eliminate some of the silliness.

What about Rickey as a Yankee? I’ll always have mixed feelings about Henderson’s days in the Bronx. At his worst, he pulled a Manny Ramirez-like stunt in 1989, jogging after balls hit to left field, running the bases at three-quarter speed, all because of his unhappiness over his contract and his displeasure with management. But at his best, Henderson was THE Best. From 1985 to 1988, he performed at a level never matched by any other Yankee leadoff man in history. He also had his best power seasons while playing for the Yankees, 24 home runs in 1985 and 28 in 1986. For his career, he nearly reached the 300 milestone, an amazing accomplishment given the lack of power he had displayed throughout the minor leagues. Except for one minor league season, Henderson hit with no power at all. Over his first 942 major league at-bats with Oakland, basically the equivalent of two seasons, he hit a grand total of ten home runs. But then he turned his muscular build into legitimate power, making him the ultimate three dimensional leadoff threat. His 1990 performance highlighted his power at its peak, when he slugged an amazing .577 for the A’s. If Henderson had wanted to, if he had changed his plan from slash-and-dash to a muscle approach, he could have hit 500 home runs, though it likely would have hurt his all-round game. The “Man of Steal” had that kind of talent. He was Ty Cobb with a power stroke.


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